Gaming is, by its very nature, an interactive pastime. Unlike watching a movie, reading a book or spectating at a sporting event, it is a hobby in which the gamer is in the thick of the action. With the realism offered by today’s games, that offers a more immersive experience than ever. There is, for example, a school of thought that playing a horror game can be an even more unsettling experience than watching a movie. Imagine that scene from The Shining, but instead of Danny riding the tricycle down the corridor and not knowing what is around the next corner, it is you.

Anyone who has seen the YouTube clips of people screaming in terror while they play games like Resident Evil or Five Nights at Freddie’s will have seen this phenomenon in action. However, the very fact that we are watching videos like these, and tuning in to live streams on platforms like Twitch, shows that there is an increasingly passive side to gaming too.
Tuning in to hone your skills

People are drawn to live games for a variety of reasons. Esports like League of Legends or CS:GO are attracting audiences, sponsors and gamblers at an immense rate, to the extent that coverage has spilled over from online streams to mainstream broadcasters such as ESPN and the BBC. However, there are other, more traditional, games that have also become a huge hit among live streamers. Take the ever-popular casino games like poker or blackjack, for example. For those who want to learn about online casino games, there is no better way to do so than to watch the experts in action.

A new breed of celebrity

Richard Tyler Blevins, better known as Ninja, is a 27 year old from Illinois who has been playing games and streaming them live for a living for the past ten years. Others might surpass him in terms of followers and earning in future, but he will go down in history as the first true internet celebrity who earned fame and fortune through live streaming. Earlier this year, he took on Drake, a celebrity of the “old school” who has earned his fame through pop stardom. In doing so, to coin a phrase, he almost broke the internet, with more than 600,000 concurrent views.

Streaming has only just begun

The most remarkable thing is that outside the areas of live poker and the eSports favorites of MOBAs and first person shooters, live streaming has yet to truly take off in other gaming genres. However, it is only a matter of time.

Sport is the perfect example of a pastime that can be either active or passive – wheelchair-bound nonagenarians can derive as much pleasure from a sporting event as the players who are at the peak of their fitness. The popularity of the NBA 2K has provided a glimpse of what is to come, and while some might argue that it will never be the same as the real thing, the point is that it doesn’t have to be.

John Madden and FIFA are two other sports-themed games that are certain to join the streaming bandwagon and others will follow. Right now, streaming is still in its infancy. In five years time, the gaming landscape will have changed beyond all recognition.